Face it. Shane Mosley looked just plain tired in his last fight.
Against Manny Pacquiao last May, in what will be just two days short of an entire year this Saturday when he faces the younger and naturally bigger Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, it appeared that one of the few boxers who have ever usefully carried the moniker of “Sugar” into a boxing career, had lost the sweetness of his science.
Shane Mosley looked old.
In his prime, he was fast and powerful enough to be one of the most feared lightweights in history, a multi-division champion and a pound-for-pound king, but the 39-year-old version of Mosley that showed up that night didn’t even seem like he wanted to be there.
Instead of standing and trading with Pacquiao, like he did in the two memorable encounters with Oscar De La Hoya that solidified his stature among boxing’s biggest stars, Mosley was content to stay far way from his opponent after getting sent to the canvas in round three. He went on to lose by what had to be an embarrassingly wide margin for the once proud former champion.Judges scored the bout 120-107, 120-108 and 119-108.
Mosley looked done. Surely, after the loss to Pacquiao, preceded by a draw with Sergio Mora and being soundly outboxed by Floyd Mayweather, Mosley had seen his last fight. After all, the boxing ring isn’t kind to the aging or unenthused.
Ah, but boxing has a way of keeping guys around, doesn’t it? When Alvarez’s team started looking for the undefeated uber-prospect’s next opponent, Mosley’s name surfaced quickly. And why not? As impressive as Alvarez has been thus far in his short career, he’s fought no one near the level of Shane Mosley. And Mosley, while conceding he had a poor showing against Pacquiao last May, seems anxious to get back in the ring again to prove his mettle.
“I will be the first fighter to beat Canelo,” he confidently asserted on a recent media conference call.
Boxing is probably the most difficult sport in the world. If you don’t believe me, go hit a heavy bag as hard as you can for nine minutes and see how your body feels afterwards. Then think about how in a real fight, you’d be moving around the ring trying to avoid punches, many of which would be pummeling you anyways. Then think about how nine minutes is only three rounds.
Nonetheless, Mosley’s career will continue for what is scheduled to be thirty-six more minutes of ring time, and to his credit he even recognizes how some people might view him these days.
“Some media members might be overlooking me because of my age,” he said. Moreover, Mosley believes his opponent may be overlooking him a bit too, which is why he thinks he’ll have the edge on May 5 adding, “Canelo will be surprised when he’s not fighting the 40-year-old fighter he thinks I am.”
While Mosley most certainly will be a 40-year-old fighter on Saturday, the real question will be whether or not he comes to the ring willing to engage—it’s whether or not he really wants to be there. Against Pacquaio, Mosley said and did all the right things right up until he tasted Manny’s power. After that, it wasn’t that he seemed like an old fighter, rather it seemed like he was a tired fighter who didn’t want to be there.
Mosley isn’t looking back. He says he feels sharp and expects to fight that way against Alvarez.
“I feel young, but I have the wisdom of an older fighter,” he said.“I’m going to dominate.”
In order to do that, Mosley won’t just need to feel young. He’ll need to fight young, too. If he does, Mosley has the power, speed and ability to take home a win in what would surely be a stunning upset. And if he doesn’t, the weary Mosley will find no rest inside the ring against a hungry, young competitor like Saul Alvarez.